8 Does not wisdom call,
And understanding lift up her voice?
On the top of the heights beside the way,
Where the paths meet, wisdom takes her stand;
Beside the gates, at the entrance to the city,
At the entrance of the doors, she cries out:
“To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is directed to the sons of men.
“O you naive or inexperienced [who are easily misled], understand prudence and seek astute common sense;
And, O you [closed-minded, self-confident] fools, understand wisdom [seek the insight and self-discipline that leads to godly living].
“Listen, for I will speak excellent and noble things;
And the opening of my lips will reveal right things.
“For my mouth will utter truth,
And wickedness is repulsive and loathsome to my lips.
“All the words of my mouth are in righteousness (upright, in right standing with God);
There is nothing contrary to truth or perverted (crooked) in them.
“They are all straightforward to him who understands [with an open and willing mind],
And right to those who find knowledge and live by it.
“Take my instruction rather than [seeking] silver,
And take knowledge rather than choicest gold,
“For wisdom is better than rubies;
And all desirable things cannot compare with her.
“I, [godly] wisdom, reside with prudence [good judgment, moral courage and astute common sense],
And I find knowledge and discretion.
“The [reverent] fear and worshipful awe of the Lord includes the hatred of evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way,
And the perverted mouth, I hate.
“Counsel is mine and sound wisdom;
I am understanding, power and strength are mine.
“By me kings reign
And rulers decide and decree justice.
“By me princes rule, and nobles,
All who judge and govern rightly.
“I love those who love me;
And those who seek me early and diligently will find me.
“Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring wealth and righteousness (right standing with God).
“My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,
And my yield is better than choicest silver.
“I, [Wisdom, continuously] walk in the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth and true riches,
And that I may fill their treasuries.
“The Lord created and possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old [were accomplished].
“From everlasting I was established and ordained,
From the beginning, before the earth existed, [I, godly wisdom, existed].
“When there were no ocean depths I was born,
When there were no fountains and springs overflowing with water.
“Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills, I was born;
While He had not yet made the earth and the fields,
Or the first of the dust of the earth.
“When He established the heavens, I [Wisdom] was there;
When He drew a circle upon the face of the deep,
When He made firm the skies above,
When the fountains and springs of the deep became fixed and strong,
When He set for the sea its boundary
So that the waters would not transgress [the boundaries set by] His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth—
Then I was beside Him, as a master craftsman;
And I was daily His delight;
Rejoicing before Him always,
Rejoicing in the world, His inhabited earth,
And having my delight in the sons of men.
“Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
For blessed [happy, prosperous, to be admired] are they who keep my ways.
“Heed (pay attention to) instruction and be wise,
And do not ignore or neglect it.
“Blessed [happy, prosperous, to be admired] is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at my doorposts.
“For whoever finds me (Wisdom) finds life
And obtains favor and grace from the Lord.
“But he who fails to find me or sins against me injures himself;
All those who hate me love and court death.”
9 Wisdom has built her [spacious and sufficient] house;
She has hewn out and set up her seven pillars.
She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine;
She has also set her table.
She has sent out her maidens, she calls
From the highest places of the city:
“Whoever is naive or inexperienced, let him turn in here!”
As for him who lacks understanding, she says,
“Come, eat my food
And drink the wine I have mixed [and accept my gifts].
“Leave [behind] your foolishness [and the foolish] and live,
And walk in the way of insight and understanding.”
He who corrects and instructs a scoffer gets dishonor for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man gets insults for himself.
[a]Do not correct a scoffer [who foolishly ridicules and takes no responsibility for his error] or he will hate you;
Correct a wise man [who learns from his error], and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man and he will become even wiser;
Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.
The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of wisdom [its starting point and its essence],
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding and spiritual insight.
For by me (wisdom from God) your days will be multiplied,
And years of life shall be increased.
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself [for your own benefit];
If you scoff [thoughtlessly ridicule and disdain], you alone will pay the penalty.
The foolish woman is restless and noisy;
She is naive and easily misled and thoughtless, and knows nothing at all [of eternal value].
She sits at the doorway of her house,
On a seat by the high and conspicuous places of the city,
Calling to those who pass by,
Who are making their paths straight:
“Whoever is naive or inexperienced, let him turn in here!”
And to him who lacks understanding (common sense), she says,
“Stolen waters (pleasures) are sweet [because they are forbidden];
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
But he does not know that the spirits of the dead are there,
And that her guests are [already] in the depths of Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead).
3 Are we starting to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some [false teachers], letters of recommendation to you or from you? [No!] 2 You are our letter [of recommendation], written in our hearts, recognized and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such is the confidence and steadfast reliance and absolute trust that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficiently qualified in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency and qualifications come from God. 6 He has qualified us [making us sufficient] as ministers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not of the letter [of a written code] but of the Spirit; for the letter [of the Law] kills [by revealing sin and demanding obedience], but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the ministry of death, engraved in letters on stones [the covenant of the Law which led to death because of sin], came with such glory and splendor that the Israelites were not able to look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, [a brilliance] that was fading, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit [the new covenant which allows us to be Spirit-filled] fail to be even more glorious and splendid? 9 For if the ministry that brings condemnation [the old covenant, the Law] has glory, how much more does glory overflow in the ministry that brings righteousness [the new covenant which declares believers free of guilt and sets them apart for God’s special purpose]! 10 Indeed, what had glory [the Law], in this case no longer has glory because of the glory that surpasses it [the gospel]. 11 For if that [Law] which fades away came with glory, how much more must that [gospel] which remains and is permanent abide in glory and splendor!
12 Since we have such a [glorious] hope and confident expectation, we speak with great courage, 13 and we are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites would not gaze at the end of the glory which was fading away. 14 But [in fact] their minds were hardened [for they had lost the ability to understand]; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed [only] in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil [of blindness] lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns [in repentance and faith] to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.